University of Iowa Preparing to Rebuild

Tim Goral's picture

The University of Iowa is set to begin construction to replace and repair buildings that were damaged or destroyed in massive flooding nearly five years go.

The school plans to begin construction this summer on three new buildings estimated at $402 million, the Iowa City Press-Citizen reported.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency had said in January 2009 that it would pay to replace Iowa’s Hancher Auditorium, a studio arts building and the school of music facility. But last summer, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said FEMA had miscalculated and that the money should be reallocated elsewhere.

After months of lobbying and pressure from Iowa’s governor, congressional delegation and others, the federal government ruled in October that the university would get nearly $84 million to replace the buildings.

“We have never done this much work in any one period of time, and we’ll never do this much work at any one time,” said Rod Lehnertz, UI’s director of planning, design and construction. “It is transformational.”

In total, the rebuilding of the campus will carry an estimated $900 million price tag. Of that, only about $250 million has been spent.

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